S253. Decentralizing Exoticism: Why Can't I Just Write About Avocado Toast and My Ex?

B117-119, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Saturday, March 30, 2019
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


As writers from marginalized communities (POC, LGBTQ+, immigrant), our panelists often feel compelled to or are approached to write stories centered on their marginalization. But does the focus of marginalized writing have to be (anti) whiteness/exclusion based? Can’t our stories, like ourselves, be defined by more than a singular struggle? Our panelists—contributors to a forthcoming anthology that aims to bust such stereotypes—speak about marginalized writers finding their literary safe space.



Pallavi Dhawan is a prosecutor and writer. She received her BA and JD from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has attended the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. She is currently coediting an anthology for POC.

Tom Pyun is a writer and MFA candidate at Antioch University. He was a fellow with Vermont Studio Center, Gemini Ink, and VONA/Voices. His work has appeared in the Rumpus, Joyland, and Blue Mesa Review, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net award.

Ramy Eletreby is a queer Muslim Arab American writer, performer, educator-facilitator in Los Angeles, California. Though he primarily works with youth, Ramy facilitates creative projects based in social justice with various communities throughout the greater Los Angeles region.

Kanika Punwani has an MFA in creative writing (fiction) from Rutgers University–Newark and is a VONA alum. An editor and writer, her nonfiction spans the travel, lifestyle, and culture sectors and has appeared in several Indian publications. She is currently working on a debut short story collection.

Safia Jama


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center